NIH has awarded a $3.5 million grant to Joyce K. Anastasi, PhD, DrNP, FAAN, professor and director of the division of special studies in symptom management at the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing, to research a nonpharmacologic treatment for the management of neuropathic pain in people living with HIV.
According to a press release, nearly one in three people living with HIV are affected with distal sensory neuropathic pain, or DSP.
“Our team has been studying HIV DSP for many years,” Anastasi told Infectious Disease News. “From our clinical experience, community work and prior HIV studies, we learned that DSP was and remains a painful and debilitating symptom.”
Anastasi’s clinical research study aims to determine if HIV-related neuropathic pain can be managed through acupuncture and moxibustion, a traditional Chinese therapy. To investigate the efficacy of a nonpharmacologic approach to DSP, 196 people with HIV-related DSP will be enrolled in a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
The physical manifestations of DSP include pain, numbness, tingling and burning over the soles of the feet and distal portion of the toes. Current treatments to manage DSP include non-narcotic and narcotic analgesics — including opioids — antidepressants and anticonvulsants. However, these options are “largely ineffective, potentially addictive, and may carry side effects,” according to the press release, and there have been no agents approved by the FDA to treat DSP in people living with HIV.
As a symptom management scientist, Anastasi has extensively studied methods to manage and control chronic symptoms in people living with HIV, as well as for individuals with other health conditions. Preliminary studies show that acupuncture and moxibustion may be an effective therapy for the management of HIV-related DSP.
“Nonpharmacologic interventions were important, and acupuncture was highly supported,” Anastasi said. “Our preliminary studies provided evidence of our systematic and thorough plan toward studying HIV DSP.” – by Marley Ghizzone
Disclosure: Anastasi reports no relevant financial disclosures.